Role Reversal

Abby was making some short barks early this morning (3 AM early)… something was outside… then we heard our steel 55 gallon burn barrel fall over (used for burning trash)… one conclusion… bear!

There was no food of interest in it, and I failed to re-secure the lid on top. As Abby went back to her bed, our cat, Blackie, was sitting inside on the door steps on high alert until sunrise.

At around 6:30 AM, I let Abby out and she trotted over to the NE corner of the shed and proceeded to crawl under the shed. She popped her head out, looked at the windows, gave me a look, and went back under looking at the glass windows we have stacked against the wall… this behavior means one thing… there is a Pack Rat somewhere in between the window panes.

Since it was way too early to pull out the blowgun, I decided to move some of the windows out and let Abby take care of the Pack Rat… and, within a few minutes of moving around some window frames, Abby made one quick move and she was doing a victory lap around the garden with a dead Pack Rat in her mouth.

If you are not familiar with Pack Rats, their urine and feces have a distinct foul odor… which I’m sure Abby remembered this time by the look on her face.

(She passed on eating this one. Wise choice Girly-Girl) Since the last one she ate made her feel a bit queazy for the remainder of the day. She ended up burying this Pack Rat in the meadow. Which was fine with us.

About half an hour later, Blackie jumped up on the window sill and was looking at us like…

“Hey, you guys, look out the window… NOW!… There is a large predator lurking about.”

It took me a few seconds to catch on, but when I looked out the window, I saw a bear walking past the garden right in front of the chicken coop, heading for the creek. We’re assuming it was the same bear that investigated the burn barrel early this morning.

After I grabbed the shotgun, and we located Abby; who was clueless to the bear being in the vicinity, I cautiously walked toward the bear who had now crossed to the other side of the creek, and fired a few shells in his direction to discourage its return to our homestead.

All of this excitement before 8 AM, and our first cup of coffee.

So, we have a dog who alerts us to Pack Rats, and a Cat who alerts us to Bears… go figure.

Bonus Image

Bob, the German Shepherd who lives a mile away came to visit Abby around 6 AM a few days ago. This made Abby’s morning, since we think she has a special crush on Bob. Now, isn’t that one happy looking dog! 🙂

Coop de ville

Construction on the chicken coop is nearly complete. We built the door frame and redesigned the ramp today. instead of having two ramps (one for each Cabana) we gave the chickens a main ramp and a walkway to each Cabana… complete with a safety guard rail in case of accidents.

Here is a shot taken through the front door (framed but not yet hung). All of the wood used for this portion of the project came from two wooden pallets. Blackie is testing it out for us… one of the few times he’s allowed inside.

He’s a shot taken from the roof.

All that remains is finishing up the South Cabana nesting box, adding the roosting perches, back-filling some dirt around the outside and painting the coop Barn Red and White. More photos to follow.

Bonus Image

Besides our Girly-Girl turning out to be a pretty good Pack Rat hunter, she finds the oddest things buried in the surrounding mountainside. If you guessed the leg of a deer… congratulations. (We wouldn’t like to meet the predator who ripped that from the deer’s body.)

Reptiles, Rodents, and Things Most Fowl

Our dog Abby was bitten by a Rattle Snake last Tuesday. She’s okay though, it was a dry bite, but it left a nasty wound on her upper foreleg. She never showed any signs of discomfort, except for the discomfort we caused her while cleaning her wound.

It’s hard keeping an elastic bandage on an active dog. It was basically to keep her from licking the poultice of Bentonite Clay Powder (excellent for drawing out toxins) mixed with activated charcoal, Slippery Elm bark, Plantain leaves, and colloidal silver. Then we gave her Echinacea, Skullcap, Goldenseal root, Colloidal silver, and activated charcoal orally.

So we moved to next step in lick prevention… ye olde make-shift Elizabethan collar. Made out of an old gardening hat.

She doesn’t look too thrilled, but it worked. We are happy to report that her wound is healing nicely. We are applying a salve of comfrey and other herbs to speed up the healing process.

Her energy is good, though she is starting to chase more chipmunks… and she found, caught and consumed her first Pack Rat. Her she is with her trophy before she ate it… except the tail.

A rather smallish Pack Rat (about 8″ from nose to tail). Not like the Pack Rat she pointed out about three weeks ago, that I ended up killing with the blowgun. That sucker was  about 18″ from tail to nose and it weighed about 4 lbs.

I buried that one.

We are almost finished building our chicken coop. We have one more nesting box to build, the door to frame and hang,  and attach the wire to the center walls. We’re getting 10 free chickens within the next week or so. We still have to caulk and paint it. But it’ll be ready when they arrive.

When we get Guinea Hens next season their cabana will be waiting for them.

The North Cabana with completed nesting box and window. Yes, Abby with a t-shirt… another way to keep her from licking her wound.

Cabana interior. Two windows, nesting box, door access for cleaning, and sliding chute for chickens. The floor is made out of strips from pallets. Never underestimate the usefulness of wood pallets.

And… finally… speaking of things most foul… here’s our new Maytag Wringer Washer we bought from some friends for $30. The best washing machine… ever. The washboards are now TV-less trays.